Throughout the month of October, SAVE Task Force has focused on educating others on the signs of domestic violence and highlighting the complexities of this type of violence and abuse. We know that domestic violence effects 12 million people per year in the United States alone. We know that this type of violence carries a national economic cost of $8.3 billion per year. 40% of homicides worldwide are perpetrated by the victim’s intimate partner. America has a female homicide rate almost 5 times higher than other high-income countries, but experts say this type of homicide is one of the most predictable and preventable. So what can we do to help prevent intimate partner violence?
Effective prevention strategies require community investment, collaboration, and participation across all sectors, between violence prevention fields, and among related health and social justice movements. No single program can change the environmental factors and norms that contribute to intimate partner violence. Preventing violence means changing our society and its institutions—eliminating attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, environments and policies that contribute to violence and promoting those that stop the violence. James Mercy, Director of the Division of Violence Prevention with the CDC, noted the importance of teaching safe and healthy relationships, disrupting the development of abusive behaviors between generations, providing protective environments (work, school, etc.), and supporting survivors (October 2016). Primary prevention efforts impact several modifiable factors associated with intimate partner violence, such as reducing acceptance of violence, challenging social norms, practices, and policies that place girls and women at increased risk, and confronting gender and racial injustice.
While domestic violence is not a problem that will be easily solved by a single approach, there are things we can do in our everyday lives that support the multidisciplinary social change necessary. The Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence recommends these “15 Ways you can Help Stop Domestic Violence.” These steps include actions such as: modeling a non-violent, respectful response to resolving conflicts; calling the police if you witness violence in progress; evaluating mass media and entertainment for messages that encourage violence, specifically violence against women, and refusing to support music, movies, businesses, and media producers that perpetuate these types of messages; and giving your time and/or money to your local domestic violence resource centers.
As we wrap up Domestic Violence Awareness month, we would like to thank all those who have attended, assisted, or encouraged others to participate in SAVE’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month programs. In addition to the steps outlined above, SAVE suggests encouraging your co-workers, employees, or students to participate in educational programming on campus to help increase the level of awareness and accurate education on gender-based violence. For more information on SAVE programming and upcoming events, contact Shelby Bedford at firstname.lastname@example.org or Leslie Johnson at email@example.com.